Six Things You Need to Know Before Planning San Diego Home Renovations

Planning San Diego home renovations is an exciting process that results in substantial benefits for your family. But San Diego residents need to understand the ins and outs of tackling a home improvement project, as well as the particular details that apply to San Diego properties.

Find out what you need to know before planning San Diego home renovations.

A Reliable Professional is Worth the Investment.

Although DIY might help you to save money on home renovations, hiring a professional makes sense in most cases. The city allows homeowners to obtain construction permits in certain situations, but many times permits are issued to licensed contractors only. This allows the municipality to regulate the work and maintain a standard of safety and durability.

Projects that involve electrical, mechanical or plumbing aspects require the attention of a trained and licensed technician. Framing and structural work should be completed according to a design, which in turn should be created by an experienced architect or designer.

DIY projects often result in a lower standard of finish, and less enhanced value overall. Professional work looks and feels better, and often lasts longer. Years of experience allow your contractor to complete the work efficiently and with a higher level of finish.

Local Building Codes Are Enforced.

Many San Diego home renovations require a building permit. If you begin construction without a permit and the Code Compliance Department performs an inspection, homeowners will be issued fines and/or penalties. In cases where building codes are not being met, the structure must be returned to its original state.

Delays and problems of this sort result in higher renovation costs. They also increase the stress associated with remodeling and could result in a lengthy battle with the Code Compliance Department. Avoid all of this by obtaining a permit before construction begins and ensuring that all work involved in your project complies with local building code.

Click here to find out more about the permit process in San Diego.

Zoning May Be an Issue.

City council approves the zoning in San Diego, which then dictates the type of buildings and lot sizes allowed in a certain area. Find out what type of zoning applies to your property and how that category affects your home improvement plans.

For instance, properties within a residential zone R1-20000 must be single-family units with lots at least 20,000 square feet in size. If your home improvement project pushes beyond zoning limitations, applying for a variance becomes the next step. Obtaining a variance takes time and additional expenses.

In some cases, special zoning designating a planned development creates additional limitations and directives. Speak to a representative at the local zoning department about the zoning and requirements that apply to your home.

A Written Contract Protects You and the Contractor.

Always ask for a written contractor, no matter what contractor you're dealing with. These legal documents should outline the following things in a clear manner:

  • Details of the project - including dimensions, materials specified and applicable construction process
  • Scheduling for installation - although this might only be an estimate, make sure some kind of scheduling information is included in your contract
  • Warranty information - including the scope of work and length of time covered
  • Payment terms - including a record of any deposit paid, plus the terms for the balance due and/or any draws to be paid in the process. If financing has been arranged with the contractor, be sure that all financing details are also included or a separate contract is referenced.
  • Price - usually the first thing you look at, this detail needs to be on the contract, along with information on how any extras and changes will be handled.

Make sure your contractor signs and dates the written contract, supplying a copy for both your files and their own. Keep a copy on file after the work has been completed, for any warranty issues and as proof of purchase for potential buyers.

Insurance is Easier to Arrange Before the Project Starts.

Insurance coverage protects your property in the case of damage, and also protects your assets in case of litigation. Accidents on the job can result in litigation and severe weather or storms may damage your home in the midst of construction. Talk to your insurance agent during the planning stages to ensure your current insurance is adequate.

The building permit division requires insurance, even for DIY enthusiasts. For San Diego residents planning to DIY most of the work, but hire out certain aspects, Worker's Compensation insurance coverage is available and required.

If homeowners do not obtain Worker's Compensation coverage, an “Owner-Builder Statement” must be signed and filed before the issuance of a permit.

General liability insurance and general property insurance protect your property and possessions from damage and theft. Wise homeowners call their agents and discuss how San Diego home renovations will alter or adjust their insurance coverage. Adding more insurance may push the cost of home improvements a little higher, but the protection and peace of mind offered far outweighs the cost.

Design Trends Come and Go.

Planning your home improvement in San Diego involves a lot of browsing and decisions about fixtures, dècor and furnishings. Remember that current design trends may create an attractive magazine or website layout, but they don't often stand the test of time in the average home.

Stick with the classics for your basic design (whether that's modern style classics or forms and styles from another era) and add trendy elements later. Your foundation should rest on tried and true favorites that display your personal tastes, as opposed to new trends that will fall out of fashion in a year or two. Allow your home reno investment to mature gracefully by sticking with classic styles while creating an appropriate place for trends.

Planning San Diego home renovations can be a fun and rewarding experience. By asking the right questions and making profitable contacts with experienced contractors, the Code Compliance Department and your insurance agent, homeowners can smooth out this process and enjoy renovations from start to finish.

Posted by: diana
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